Student Interview: Amber Koprin, BFA Candidate

Amber Koprin is a senior here at Studio Angelico concentrating in Painting & Drawing. Her Senior Exhibition will be on view in Klemm Gallery from April 24 to 29, 2018. Madison LaRoy talked with her about her various projects, sources of inspiration, school experience, and her plans for her future. 

A few weeks ago Amber Koprin signed up to use Gallery Ten for a week so she could spread out her work and prepare for her Senior Project.

A few weeks ago Amber Koprin signed up to use Gallery Ten for a week so she could spread out her work and prepare for her Senior Project.

You seem to have several projects going at the same time. Tell me about your art.

I have several works going at the same time in order to allow each series to sustain unity. This gives me the opportunity to explore various styles and techniques. The human figure, furniture, and houses appear in the majority of my work. I refer to myself as a painter, however, collage is a huge part of my process. Through collage I demonstrate a strong use of line, shape, and color to achieve a composition that will transfer well in scale and style when it is ready to be painted. My artwork is inspired from my past while working through ways that make it relatable to the viewers because my intention is to bring awareness to the importance and fortune of what having a home, and what the things living and existing on the inside are capable of.

Are there any artists you find inspirational?

Laurie Simmons and Kehinde Wiley inspire me. Simmons arranges furniture in small spaces that creates a sense of loneliness and melancholy. Through my research of Simmons’s photograph series, In and Around the House, I have been able to understand my own appreciation for the objects that I grew up around. Wiley’s ability to create a relationship between a human figure and patterns has inspired me to revisit patterns from old furniture, clothing, and wallpaper. Revisiting these patterns is my way of creating “permanent memories” of places that I have lost over time to things such as eviction.

What will we see in your Senior Exhibition? Will there be a theme?

My senior show will include paintings, video work, one wheel thrown object, and an installation. The theme of my work is the relationships between people and objects often found in a home. Certain objects and furniture have the ability to help one cope with the loss. Lastly, I will be displaying my desire of having a welcoming home.

How has studying art at Siena changed your art practice?

Studying at Siena Heights University has made an immense impact to my art practice. Peter Barr and Natalie Lanese have both allowed the freedom to explore and discover myself with the perfect amount of guidance and support. Peter Barr’s classes are formatted in a way that taught me the importance of rigorous research. To me, Peter has also shown me that going against the grain and the rules is awesome as long as you can justify your actions and intentions in the work you are making. The research I have done in his courses and as his mentee for the McNair Program has helped me find artists that inspire me. Before I met Natalie Lanese I did not understand the importance of having a space where you dedicate your time, go to, and create. She has presented me with questions over the past couple of years that have challenged me to think deeply about how the subject matter and themes I am working with communicate with the space and the people around me.

You’re a McNair Scholar. What was that experience like?

The McNair program has high standards of time management and responsibility. There were many times when I would tell myself “this is too much extra work,” and “what did I get myself into?” However, the expectations that the McNair Director set for us taught me how to be efficient in all the work I do. I have been pushed to engage in public activities that have helped me open up and feel more confident to talk about my work. This may sound a bit funny, but more than anything it has taught me how to read and write better because I was doing so much of it.

What is next for you?

Well, at the end of 2017 I applied to six graduate programs and I have not yet been accepted anywhere. However, I have been reconsidering how I feel about attending graduate school even if I get accepted because I am more thrilled with the idea of moving back to the Detroit area. I want to build up my portfolio and engage in a community that provides opportunities to learn hands-on. Wherever I end up I know I will be painting.

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